8 January 2006

The range of personalities here is fascinating. The Kitchen Team (the more experienced GC students or ‘Crafties’) prepare the meals, simple vegetarian food cooked and served with care and not a little love. Especially the desserts. I probably eat half of what I’d eat in a normal day but never feel hungry.

At lunch the first real discussion of some of the ideas behind this with Hernan.  Much silence, sometimes formalised (silent half hour before lunch and dinner – ‘Be silent. If you can’t do that, be quiet. If you can’t do that, just shut up!’), sometimes spontaneous. As on Zen retreats it’s a delight when it’s comfortable just to be there with people with no-one feeling a need to make conversation.

After dinner the first large circle – everyone including Hernan. 27 guitars, I think, in one circle. After a pretty improvised theme, guided by the instructors who walk around giving new parts to groups of three or four, we go into a ‘Thrak’ – half the circle playing power chords in 5/4, the other half in 7/4. The concentration needed is more than many of us can manage. After that, a rocky but more basic improvisation with power chords leaping out from here or there across the room.

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